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Us 23, Washington 20, Boehner 15, John Kerry 11, U.s. 9, Nra 8, Advair 8, Hawaii 7, Connecticut 7, John Boehner 7, Clinton 6, Msnbc 6, New York 6, America 5, Chuck Hagel 5, Atlanta 4, Pennsylvania 4, Newtown 4, Copd 4, Alex 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    December 22, 2012
    9:00 - 11:00am PST  

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it is high noon here in the east. 9:00 out west. here's some of the first five stories trending at this hour. cliffmas is coming. what does it mean? gunfight pullout. biggest lottery ever. new study, one hawaiian island. firing irresistible employee is okay? more reaction today to the national rifle association's proposal in response to last week's deadly attack in nu oun. the nra says more schools should have guards armed with guns of their own. nbc justice correspondent pete williams says s in washington for more on this. can you break down the nra's solution? >> the nra says the answer to
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combating school violence is simple. it says banks, power plarngts congress, and the president are protected with armed security and the nation's schools should be guarded that way, too. after a week of calls for tighter gun restrictions and signs of a possible shift in public attitudes, about access to the weapons like the rifle used in connecticut, the national rifle association instead called for putting more armed security officers in the nation's schools. the. >> the onlying that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> reporter: the nra's wayne la pierre says children in most schools are defenseless because the schools proclaim to be places without guns. >> they tell every insane killer in america that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. >> reporter: he took no questions from reporters but was
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interrupted by protesters. >> shame on the nra! >> reporter: la pierre tried to anticipate criticism tham having more guns is not the answer. >> why is the idea of a gun good when it is used to protect the president of our country? or our police? but bad when it is used to protect our children in our schools? >> reporter: gun control advocates say the nra's idea won't be effective. they note would armed security officers could not stop the columbine shooting in 1999. >> they were armed with say salt weapons and engaged armed security personnel on the high school campus. >> reporter: experts estimate as many as one-third of the nation's schools already have armed officers. mostly in middle and high schools. but one of the senate's leading advocates of tighter gun restriction says the nra ignored the bigger problem. >> it is a distraction from the availability of military-style assault weapons on our streets,
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our schools, and used at malls, used at workplaces, used in movie theaters. >> reporter: the nra did find common ground with president obama on one point. concern about violence in popular culture. video games, movies and news music. the nra is one of the most feared and effective lobby groups in the nation. now signs of shifting public opinion and renewed calls for gun restrictions in congress and state legislatures present the organization with its biggest test yet. >> thanks so much, pete. more now on the gun debate in and the fiscal cliff. joining me is congresswoman diana of colorado. welcome to you, glad to have you join us. >> good morning, alex. >> the nra says the answer to gun attacks is putting police with guns in the schools. you are from colorado and you knee did not work in the columbine attack because there were armed guards will, right? >> right. alex, columbine is in my congressional district and i was in congress when columbine
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happened. they had would armed guards there. many of the schools already have armed guards. you know, just saying we need to make bigger fortresses of our elementary schools is really an unbelievable and shocking answer to the issue of these assault weapons and these -- the assault magazines. i mean, it is -- it boggles the mind. a lot of us who are gun control advocates had hoped that the nra by taking a few days to think about it would really think it through and let's come to the table. let's really talk about what gun ownership means. and let's talk about the fact that the only purpose of these terrible weapons is to shoot people p and what can we do to work together to minimize those impacts. that's when we thought they might do. i watched that press conference yesterday. i was absolutely shocked because there was no real i cannition of the role that these assault weapons and this ammunition play
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in the horrible, horrible attacks. >> yeah. but the fact is that people, your constituents, for example, are going to have differing opinions. if columbine had armed guards in that school, it had to have been approved by the parents. i mean, it was there -- i mean, what do you say to that? >> well, what i say is regrettably there is no simple solution to this problem. one thing you have been say something the last week is you are never going to stop a mentally unstable person from getting a gun. but with hope you could stop that person important getting an assault-type rifle and then these -- these assault magazines that can shoot up to 100 rounds, the shooter in connecticut had magazines that had 30 rounds of ammunition. if you can limit people's ability to get those, then what -- whale they may able to get a gun, they couldn't do the kind of terrible shooting they did in aurora, columbine,
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connecticut, on and on and on in virginia. so -- i think that -- first but -- by no means a comprehensive solution is banning these assault magazines. and then we immediate to look at comprehensive legislation. really, the nra should be sitting down with us and talking about this and not just taking the whole issue of the assault weapons and the ammunition off the table and saying no, no, we just need more proliferation of these types of weapons. that's not the right answer. >> conversation going on in homes across the country. i'm the mom of two kids in school. the last thing i want are armed guns in their school place where it increases the possibility of an accident. >> may mom was a kindergartner teacher for 25 years in the denver schools. i can't imagine someone saying to may mom we are going to train you how to use a gun in case somebody comes into your classroom. that's not a reasonable kind of
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idea. >> let's move on to whether or not this is reasonable. let's talk about the fiscal cliff in terms of what is going on there. we have on friday house speaker boehner who tried to explain the failure of his plan b. then the president urge congress to pass a bill to keep the taxes from increasing on 98% american people taxpayers. let's take a listen. >> we have a number of our members who just really didn't want to be perceived as having to raise taxes. >> i expect democrats and republicans to get back to washington and have it pass both chambers. i will immediately sign that legislation into law before january 1 of next year. >> congresswoman, with time running out, can the house come back after christmas and pass a bill, any bill to avoid the fiscal cliff? >> well, alex, i'm one of the vote counters for the democrats. i sent a letter to speaker boehner yesterday.
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you need to you a ban don the idea that you have to have a majority of the majority to pass legislation. in other words, speaker boehner said here's my plan. and forget you, democrats, and i'm just going to pass it with my caucus and then -- his tea party rebelled against him. what i think he should do, come to the democratic leadership, put together a coalition in the middle, moderate republicans, moderate democrats, and we could come to an agreement and we could pass it. this idea that -- >> where might that agreement come? i'm going to ask my director to put up we have would full screens on the basics. where there are areas that could be discussed for some level of commonality. where do you think that might come, that compromise? >> let me give you an example. the president says no tax cuts for people making over $250,000. speaker boehner says a million dollars. find some common ground in between that.
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and then look at the cuts. speaker boehner says we might have cuts in social security or this. maybe the democrats say we don't like that but how about cuts in another place? that's the way you come to compromise is by talking and in the end there might not be a perfect solution. everybody might be unhappy and that probably means it is a good bill. but the problem is that the republicans in the house, they don't talk to the democrats. they don't try the work with us. what they say is we are bogey to come up with a solution that we can pass just with republican votes. the problem with that, of course, you can't compromise with somebody like that. i'm really urging the speaker to go back to the drawing board with the president, with senator reid, and with the democrats in the house and to put together something 37 there is common ground we could find. we can't find it if everybody keeps saying it is my way or the highway. >> i will take this a step purtds. on my broadcast earlier today, someone state willed were about
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50 or so in the republican caucus with whom you can't even find any sense of reason. they said it is just ill logical the theory that they are going after and that there is nothing that will convince these groups, this group of people, to come to the table and compromise. if -- if -- >> if that's -- this is the tea party people. so they say that we don't really tax increases even for people making a million dollars. that's why they refuse to agree with this. that's why speaker boehner needs to come across the aisle to leader pelosi and the democrats and say okay, i -- i might have 50 people who disagree with me. but i have 200 people who agree with me. let's come up with a compromise. let's try to get 50 or 100 or 150 democrats. that's what -- that's what our constituents think they are electing us to do, go work in a bipartisan basis. but because of the rules of the house, speaker boehner just
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keeps saying i'm ignoring the democrats. i'm going to try to put together a plan that will appeal just to republicans. and that's where he's -- that's where he is running into this brick wall. >> all right. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. here's one take on the fiscal cliff. john boehner's animal house. we are bogey to talk to "the washington post" writer who says in boehner's house the animals are rampaging. what's that mean? we will have an answer for you in the next half hour. nasty weather is lingering just before christmas. aaa predicts 93 million of us will be traveling long distances over the holidays. that includes those that are flying. with a hello to you. how is it looking out there? not too bad in terms of traffic behind you. >> that's exactly right. good afternoon. it isn't too bad. here chilly but sunny and no problems to report in atlanta. most major airports throughout the country are run okay.
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one exception may be san francisco. bus there were rain delays there earlier today. but -- traffic slowing down a few of the other airports. according to flight aware.com so far only about 70 nights cancelled in the u.s. so far today. that's a big difference from thursday and provide when that storm blew through the plains and midwest and the northeast. forcing the cancellation of more than 6000 pilots. in places like chicago, detroit, and new york. some of the 84 million drivers were traveling this holiday season also faced treacherous roads, snow and ice may continue to be problem today in the northeast. places like upstate new york and pennsylvania and west virginia. there's good news for drivers. take a look at this. right now the national for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.24. that's much less than a month ago when the average was about $3.43. but it is about the same as a
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year ago. tens of millions of americans travel over the next few days, the travel conditions seem to be improving at least when compared to earlier in the week. alex? >> all right. appreciate that live report. we are going to get a look now at the forecast around the country. nbc meteorologist dylan dryer is here with more on that. i know we have a mess in the mess. >> mess in the west and middle of the country with snow all through the week. now we are actually looking at that storm finally pulling away. we had some flight delays in the northeast. mostly because of wind earlier this morning. those now are starting to improve. look at d.c. hour and a half delay and mostly wind related. it is the storm system pulling away in the northeast. and now we also have to worry about lake-effect snow. believe it or not that area off lake ontario and lake erie is 20 inches below normal for snowfall. and should pick up three to six inches out of this event. the bigger story is going to be
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snow that would could see on christmas day. there's a chance that oklahoma, arkansas could see a white christmas. even in the northeast we could see perhaps a coating on the groundf ground. >> can i just tell all of you that dylan is a rock star. she didn't have her weather clicker. what are we going to do? >> i'm never sitting in this spot so i didn't have the clicker today. >> it is what it is. you went right through it. >> i tried. >> thank you so much. west coast headlines are next. president's new pick for secretary of state and later, criticism from washington aimed at the new film "zero dark thirty." how does the intelligence community view this movie? that's coming up on "weekends with alex witt." copd makes it hard to breathe, but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory
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headlines making on the west
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coast. nra arm school guards. lobbying groups call the arm and trade guards in schools on the same page as the memorial held for the hospice nurse work killed earlier this month. obama offers up kerry as top diplomat. the "los angeles times" has the front page story moviegoing as an endurance test. about how movies like "the hobbit" are epic lengths and smaller theaters say that hurts their profits. president obama's in hawaii today where he and the first family will spend christmas. but the president says he will return to the white house after the holiday to continue working on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. joining me now, white house editor from politico, rachel smolkin. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> holiday red there, rachel. i will begin with you. is there any realistic timetable where a deal gets done beforian
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1? look at the calendar. >> there's a realistic timetable but not an optimistic timetable. not a lot of holiday cheer going on in the nation's capital. after the stunning is heback speaker boehner suffered this week in the house where he could not get his own plan through. had to pull it and because he didn't have the votes. we saw president obama acknowledge yesterday before leaving for his vacation that the deal would -- would dramatically narrow. the parameters of a deal, scope of any possible deal, much smaller than we were looking at even a week ago. he said he would still be open to the big deal but the reality is we are running out of days hering and not a lot of progress is being made. quite the opposite. >> david, are republicans actually hoping to go over the fiscal cliff because then any vote on taxes technically would be to cut them and could go forward without saying we cut taxes? >> that's a good point. inning way to look at it. it would probably give some cover to those republicans that seems clear however big a group that is that will not vote to
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raise tax necessary any way. you heard yesterday's speaker boehner blamed the -- downfall of his own plan b on the idea that, you know, many thought without it raise tax owes those making over $1 million. i think what the problem of going over the cliff, republicans and doing a tax cut, would give up some of the leverage probably enforcing president obama to come to the table with more spending cuts. if they go over the cliff they believe more americans will blame republicans. some polls show that americans are fed up and would blame both parties. i think that'sing? they would have to keep in mind. >> let's take a listen to what speaker boehner said friday. here it is. >> many of us believe on both sides of the aisle the fundamental reform of our tax code will help us get our economy moving faster and put more americans back to work. and -- more americans -- how we get there, god only knows. >> we know the president will work on it and will head back to washington after christmas to try hammer out a deal before new year's. what bargaining chips are left
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at this point? even for a scaled-back deal. >> there are not a lot of bargaining chips left. here's part of the problem. the speaker and the president really are not that far apart in terms of their numbers. at least they weren't at the beginning of the week. that's a point the president made repeatedly. but because this -- million dollar threshold couldn't get through congress it raises a lot of questions about what could get through. now, we could see some kind of smaller deal that speaking boehner does bring to the floor of the house and we look -- see a coalition of democrats. democrats vote for it. enough republicans vote to actually get it through. but that will -- throw open questions about his speakership and ability to lead his own party. we are looking at a very difficult situation. the debt ceiling doesn't seem to be on the table at all at the moment. we are trying to figure out where they can go on tax cuts. >> right. well, i want to look at the competing plans as they stand now. where does the compromise lie?
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is it on taxes? >> well, alex, i think that the question -- you know, early on we saw maybe -- you know, it would be on the tax rate. republicans don't want to raise taxes at all but would be willing to go to a hire rate but not as high as the president wants. maybe the threshold. president wants anybody making under $250,000 -- over $250,000 with a tax hike. republicans were at a million. somewhere in the middle, $400,000, $500. right now it does not seem -- republican majority in the house and so in terms of any kind of, you know, common ground, it doesn't seem like there is a lot left. it may be going over the cliff and coming back with a tax cut. >> here's what's happening as a result of all of this. we have the stock market which closed down nearly 121 points on friday. no agreement in sight. if we head over this cliff, the average middle class family will pay $2400 a year more in taxes. 3.5 million jobs could be lost. when we see these manifestations, someone is going to pay a political price for this.
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who do you think it will be? >> at this point it looks like we head over the fiscal cliff. a lot of us will pay a price as americans and if you are asking who will pay a price in washington, so far the public polls have been very much on president obama's side. he has a very high approval rating right now. the public polls all blame republicans. if we get to the point where we are in the first of the year second of the year, and we don't have a deal, the nation is going to expect washington to solve this problem. even if the president is doing well in the polls now, the question is what kind of position will he be in? americans throw up their hands and say washington can't get anything done. they can't work out any kind of deal there. and blame everybody. >> okay. rai good to see you both. thomas jefferson's view on the right to bear arms. jon meacham gives me his thoughts on office politics. but first, we go to number five on our first five web stories. a boss can legally fire a worker
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for simply being eirresistible. justices ruled an iowa dentist did not discriminate when he fired a female assistant. the dentist's wife considered the woman to be a threat to their marriage.
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unemployment benefits, welfare and education. in the study by the website 24-7 wall sting rhode island ranks first and pennsylvania. oklahoma is the worst followed by arkansas and tennessee. thanks to an oil boom, north dakota's the fastest growing state in the u.s. population increased three times faster than the entire nation. the district of columbia right behind with texas coming in third. fun in the sun. on minds of a lot of holiday travelers. the travel website kayak.com says orlando, florida, is the top christmas vacation destination that's based on internet searches and new york city's second most popular and chicago, third. how jolly on christmas we will be. >> class toyk many. "n "holiday inn featuring "white christmas" comes in second. the 1942 musical starring binge
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mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." new poll out today from the national rifle association's call for armed guards at schools. that pullout is the topic of strategy talk right now. joining me, tony fratto, former white house press secretary to george wfshg bush and karen finney, former dnc communications director and msnbc political analyst. would of my favorites, i might add. good to have you. i want to get p both of your reactions to la pierre's
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announcement. >> weird. is that a fair reaction to it? yeah. i think -- i think, you know, nra has never been good about understanding the mood of the moment. i think that it was the -- case yesterday. i think will is going to be action on gun control. i think will are some, you know, common sense areas where both parties can agree. in fact, even most gun owners in the country would agree with moving forward on some really common sense actions. putting armed guards in schools is not something i think the country is going to -- they will rather see the investment with maybe more teachers or maybe improving class size and things like that. >> karen, what did you think? >> i thought it was very disconnected and not only from reality but as tony pointed out the majority of gun owners. if you look at the polling that has come out over the course of the last year, nra members, gun owners themselves, agree with the idea of doing background checks. what i found surprising, some would say i shouldn't have been
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surprised, is the nra took no responsibility for any part of what actually happened. i mean, if you buy the argument that, you know, guns don't kill people, people kill people, okay, what are the realities of human behavior we know that we need to address? we know that high magazine clips in those assault rifles in the hands of someone who is unstable will do a lot of damage. we also know that those are the zb guns used in afghanistan by our soldiers. we don't need them in the streets in connecticut. >> no. good points. let's take a listen to "morning joe" yesterday. >> what's bothered know the most as a representative is how this has been politicized so quickly that somehow if we had changed one single law, which -- ace understand it, the -- state of connecticut had laws against these kind of things, and somehow that would have changed things.
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we have a cultural problem. >> how do you respond to that? >> i thought joe did quite a good job of that. i think -- in terms of the politicization, this is not a political issue. this should not be democrat versus republican. this is a problem. i think what we have seen is in acceleration of gun violence certainly the mass shootings in our culture, it is a problem we immediate to deal with. we immediate to take partisanship out of it. i think -- it is a multifaceted problem. the president was good to speak to that. i think a lot of folks have been talking about that. sure, the mental health issues, that's part of it. but also, the idea of we don't have adequate databases to track gun ownership in this country. police officers in aurora, colorado, had no way of knowing that they had a man in their community purchased a large numbers of weapons and ammunition. that's a problem. that's a broader problem than
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just suggesting it is one thing or two things or three things or even just about the guns themselves. we have to take a wholistic approach. >> would you have want to hear wayne la pierre talk about the magazines or the assault rifles and at least address that component of things? >> i think what would be interesting for wayne la pierre -- the nra can defend themselves. if they want to be a vibrant organization and effective and not singled out as the outliers on this issue, they may want to go and pull the membership of the nra and for their views on some of the issues. i think you would find even gun owners have very common sense views on a lot of these peches. live in a city right -- in washington, d.c., where, you know, handguns have been effectively banned for a very, very long time. we still have a very high murder rate. as karen said it is a very complex issue.
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we want to see it across the board not just when there is a mass killing like we saw in newtown. those kinds of tragedies. as i said before we see tragedies every single night in this country on the streets of this city and d.c. and chicago and l.a. and other -- >> can you give me a perspective on how powerful the nra really is in the republican party because we had michael bloomberg, mayor of new york city, on "meet the press" last week. he said they are not that powerful. it is -- they are just -- ed rendell, former governor of pennsylvania. he got elected three times and said they are a piper tiger. >> i agree with the mayor. i said this for a very long time. the myth of the power of the nra is much greater than the actual power of the nra. you have to remember in -- talking about grover norquist and pledge or nra and -- their views, and -- you know, there are a lot of members of congress who are ideologically lined with the views of the organization. less about what the nra can do to them than they agree on most issues. they are getting that support. but if you go out and speak
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clearly to your constituents about what your views are on the issues and -- about revoking second amendment rights, really only talking about common sense reforms, i think most people would agree with you and most of your constituents, republican, sxind democrats would agree. >> we will be talking about this with jon meacham in office politics. he goes back to jeffersonian times and what it is meant to be now. before we go, way back in time, president obama can be accused of being just as wary of the gun lobbyists being republican. in 2008 he -- ran on the campaign for assault weapons ban but then if anything he loosened gun laws while in office. can only afford in a second term and if so does that taint any achievements he might have? >> no. if the president is able to -- the congress and the president are able to come together and pass meaningful gun control legislation, that's going to be a win for everybody. i certainly do think -- you
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know, he would make the argument, i think, in the first term obviously there were other issues that were, you know, more pressing in terms of the level of urgency and terms of jobs and economy. i think a lot of us were disappointed to see this measure and ideas, though, kind of fall to the wayside. i think we are all horrified that a tragedy like this is what it takes to bring us back to this. one key point i do want to make about the nra because i agree they -- fundamentally don't have the same kind of power that the -- preachio iopreviously di. one of the things they did form paranoia among gun owners that president obama will come and take your guns away. congressman issa and members talking about the idea -- the president allowed violence to be in mexico with the gun walking program so that he could get enough support for the assault weapons ban renewable. i mean, that kind of paranoia, i think is part of the problem here.
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i hi it is -- as tony was saying we have to be able to take a step back and have a rational conversation. i think the president has that opportunity in second term and unfortunately in the wake of the tragedy that people will actually listen to that conversation. >> always a rational conversation with the two of you. good to see you both. thank you so much. >> thanks. here is our twitter question of the day. we asked what you think about the nra proposal and here's some of your tweets. we got a lot of them. it is a horrendous idea from the nra. if the parents wish to have armed security guards at their children's schools then so be it, to cover the costs each donate $1 per month. thomas taylor brown tweets, child hit by rock at school. lastpierre calls for more rocks at school. has full supply in head. what will be next? armed guards at daycare centers, grocery stores? he's going down the road. no one wants to travel. finally, i don't want to live in a society that requires armed
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guards everywhere i go. there's a name for that -- prison. be sure to follow me on twitter. in today's then and now, how japan took a western classic and made it its own on this day back in 1986 incomes nightly news air ad story about the country's obsession with beethoven's "ode to joy." >> devoted hundreds of thousands of japanese are almost obsessed with mastering music and the german lyrics. they study and practiced for months in preparation for year-end concerts. ♪ public television features a weekly program with appropriate subtitles. >> 227 years after it was written the piece as beloved as ever in may performed by a flash mob in spain. this video got 8 million views
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on youtube. enjoy this, everyone. i'm going to. ♪ >> amber and marcy and paul started north carolina based footsteps clothing which had a booming christmas theme pa michael jordan a line. not one that could be just a seasonal business. they added other holidays and eventually expanded to products that celebrate family life. for more watch "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. ♪
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and the complicated interpretation of the constitution's right to bear arms back in 1791 versus 2012. >> i have been writing a piece saying we immediate common sense gun legislation. and i do it from the perspective of shone that's not a nut about it either side and written it seven, eight times. just changing -- you know, aurora episode involved the same kind of weapon. >> jon, do you own an assault weapon? >> no, month. >> is there any reason to own an assault weapon? >> no, not unless you are in the military and in the business of assault. absolutely not. and that's what's changed. that's what is -- there have been books about this. interesting back story here. culturally. which is the nra in the '40s '50s was where you got taught how to use gun safety. you know. they went to summer camps. they were in schools. and -- sort of that's where you
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learn how to shoot. and it became increasingly radicalized as the decades went by. as -- so many cultural institutions did. culminating really, we thought culminating, in 1994 when in a praig letter of the president of the nra referred to atf agents as thugs which led george herbert walker bush to resign as a life member of the nra. >> how did jefferson view the right to bear arms in context of those -- are the reasons for it still relevant in these times? >> i don't think it is still relevant. jefferson was a gun owner. traveled with weapons. once left a pistol behind in a box at an inm and had to send for it. believed in taking the exercise of the gun as he called it which meant wandering around the woods carrying the gun. but -- the -- the -- thinking behind the second amendment was that a militia was the -- meaning citizen volunteers that
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would be summoned by their governors to the defense of the whole was preferable to standing federal military. a standing army had always been in the old world -- source of corruption of the authoritarianism of centralized power, dictators love standing armies because they got control of it they controlled the country. it was very much part of the early american experience that you did not want a standing army. one of the most important moments in george washington's life was when he resigned his commission and went back to mt. vernon because every -- almost every other commanding general in a struggle like this would have kept his army, declared himself regent or chancellor or dash king or president. and george iii is -- said to have remarked if washington actually resigns as commission and goes home would be the
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greatest manning to have lived and he was. so that -- the defense of the country then fell to smaller organizations. soing the second -- wording of the second amendment is, you know, the rights of -- militia well regulated militia being critical to deliveries of the people, right of the citizens to keep and bear aerms arms shall not be infringed. the idea that that is somehow absolute, that that is sacred scripture, in a way is totally unjeffersonian. jefferson actually was -- went too far the other way. he thought that -- mused at one point every law should be looked at again after 20 years. that one generation did not have the right to bind another. to my mind the most significant insight of his was that to ask a country to be governed by a constitution written when it was young is like asking a man to wear a child's coat. you don't simply accept as true things that are handed on simply
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because they are handed off. and we are -- there is a kind of -- back to the future quality to the gun debate in -- in these terms because you have unreconstructed, reflexive gun advocates saying that anything that's done to a document written 200 and x years ago is a slippery slope to chaos and tyranny. but no one at the time would have argued, certainly not thomas jefferson works have argued that this was going to be the law forever. >> tomorrow at this time, talking about president obama's legacy. now to number three in our first five web stories. celebrating winning the world's biggest lottery. $3.3 billion jackpot divided into thousands of cash prizesful biggest winners will get $5 ten
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can i be honest with you? i am bad news. i'm not your friend. i'm not going to help you. i'm going to break you. any questions? >> it is the film "zero dark thirty" and it has yet again sparked controversy. first it was the film's original planned release date, just before the election. now critics and senators alike are saying the film falsely claims that the cia used torture to track down osama bin laden. welcome. nice to see you. >> good to see you. >> all right. i wouldn't clear the debate here. did the cia use torture to locate bin laden?
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>> it is something that gets really murky very fast because people who are actually involved in the program have different insights. the facts that are relevant here are some snippets of information came out harsh interrogations that ended up being useful and -- in the greater collage of information that came out of the program. on the other hand, the key insights, things that led us to osama bin laden most directly came from more traditional methods in -- film tries to portray both of those. i think on balance, it is clear that it was the traditional methods, other kinds of intelligent collection, that were most important at the end and -- that is the -- i guess the important point that needs to be made. >> in multiple interviews, the filmmake filmmakers, captain bigelow, called make thing film an almost journalistic exercise. are they doing a disservice by saying that and then changing the story? >> well, i think they are surprised by the uproar because -- as you are right, this is mostly a journalistic
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film. lot of it is almost minute by minute and accurate portrayal of, for example, the takedown at -- there is some dramatic licenses that take place and admit that as well. i think that from their point of view they are trying to portray torture because they think that it is clear that it happened and people need to be confronted with that reality and -- i think they were also trying not to cast judgment as much as just show people that the -- what happened and let us draw our own conclusions but gets caught newspaper politics and people have different views whether this is right or not. >> we have a bunch of senators, dianne feinstein, carl levin, john mccain, all of whom sent a letter to sony pictures calling the film grossly inaccurate and misleading. "the new york times" is now reporting that cia act director michael morrell sent out an agency-wide letter criticizing it. >> it is no question that the -- political drama around this
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movie is added to the buzz and made it as interesting as the film itself. i guess in the -- in the -- lit help drive interest into this thing but there's also a negative which is the fact that there's been so many of these political complaints that it could hurt the film at oscar time. lot of people will be voting for best picture, you know, may vekd thoughts because they -- they have this sense from, you know, authoritative sources that there is misleading and -- harmful position. >> can i ask you quickly of focus on this lone wolf character maya who is credited with the tracking down of bin laden. was this the case in reality? >> this is a very accurate portrayal. the woman is a real person and not a composite. she is still at the cia and under cover. a woman in her 30s who was absolutely pivotal in the search for osama bin laden. like the person maya in movie, she is -- you know, has sharp elbows, she has a difficult, challenging personality and probably would admit about herself. at the same time people say that you can't necessarily be miss
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congeniality and succeed at the cia in the hunt for these terrorist characters. >> that makes sense which is a real person. >> thank you. good to see you. the president in hawaii for christmas. is he coming back for fiscal cliff talks on december 26? live report from honolulu next. also the lee big money headlines. dropping, shopping, should we be stopping? we are reduced to rhyming. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
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but since i've been on alli, am i on this one?
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nope. am i on this one? no, no, no, no, no. i am on this one. [ male announcer ] for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. simple. effective. belt-friendly. let's fight fat with alli. have a healthier holiday at letsfightholidayfat.com. good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." president obama sing vacation g vacationing. he arrived in the wee hours this morning. let's go to kristen welker who is with the president in hon lou look. we know the president has an open-ended ticket. is he coming back for the fiscal cliff talks on december 26? >> well, the message from the
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white house officials is it is a fluid situation. what we do know is that lawmakers will be returning to washington after the christmas holiday to start negotiations again to try to hammer out deal before that january 1 deadline. it is hard to imagine the president obama would stay here in hawaii when there's so much going on in washington and when there's so much at stake, of course, if we go overing the fiscal cliff, many economists have warned that the country could slip back into recession eventually. taxes will go up on middle class americans. it is hard to imagine a scenario in which president obama would stay here. we haven't gotten the final word on his schedule, however. i think it certain sly fair to assume that he might be cut thing vacation little bit short. >> speaking of schedules, the president had a busy day before he left for vacation yesterday. it began with his response to the online petition calling for action to reduce gun violence. >> as i said earlier this week i cap do it alone. i need your help. if we are going to succeed, it
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is going to take a sustained effort from mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, law enforcement and responsible gun owners. i think it is fair to say that danny was perhaps my earliest political inspiration. i'm very proud to announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. avert thing middle-class tax hike is not a democratic responsibility or a republican responsibility. with their votes the american people have determined that govern sing a shared be responsibility between both parties. >> yikes. starts at 6:00 a.m. and goes to 5:30 p.m. and get on a plane and fly. when you think about this day, of course, clearly senator inouye's death was unexpected. his announcement of naming john kerry for head of state, might that have waited until after the holidays? >> it wasn't on his schedule. i think the john kerry pick was probably the worst-kept secret
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in all of washington. president obama wanted to announce one much his cabinet positions before he left for vacation. what is a surprise we expected him to unveil his entire defense team all at once. that didn't happen. aides say he's mulling over his other choices. he is coming under scrutiny now because with the kerry pick top echelons of the cabinet could all be white male. that's not very diverse. some people saying they want to see a more diverse cabinet from the president p the president himself has said that that is one of the things that is important to him. some of the people he is mulling over for secretary of defense, chuck hagel, former senator of nebraska. former undersecretary of the defense. then, of course, there is picking the cia director. right now that post is being held by michael morrell. it wasn't a surprise he picked john kerry. we were surprised he announced that pick alone and without unveiling his entire defense team all at once. >> i would love to think of a million more questions to ask
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you because of the gorgeous backdrop but instead i will let you go to it. >> thanks, alex. mice to see you, too. new today one congressman says prospects are gloomy for getting a deal done to avoid the fiscal cliff. we are just ten days away. >> i don't think they are very high. i think more likely scenario is that the rates will go up automatically on january 1. >> before leaving d.c. for hawaii, president obama said he met individually with the leaders of the house and senate. asking them to work towards a package that prevents a tax hike on the middle class. >> this is something within our capacity to solve. it doesn't take that much work. just have to do the right thing. call me a hopeless optimist. but i actually still think we can get it done. >> new today, house speaker john boehner delivering the weekly republican address. >> the american people re-elected president obama on
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election day. they also re-elected a republican majority in the house. in doing so, they gave us all a mandate. it was not a mandate to raise taxes on families and small businesses. it was mandate for us to work together to begin solving a massive debt that threatens our country's future. >> joining me now is political columnist for "the washington post" dana mill bank and reid wilson. dana, i will begin with you. are there any plausible scenarios where they get everything done by january 1? >> this is the season of miracles. so we can't say absolutely that they will not get anything done. there is not a whole lot of optimism in this town particularly now that the president has gone to the beach in hawaii and members have gone home. the likely scenario is we have to go over the cliff and members can see the ravaging of the american economy as a result of the pan take would instill. and that may move them back to the table to a point they feel
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like they can make the concessions that everybody knows has to be made. it is -- it still could be done. and perhaps we are have a christmas miracle. >> so -- i asked this question and with a big if if it gets done, what kind of deal might this be? something long term or do you think it is something that kicks the can down the road as we have seen in the past? >> yeah. i think we passed the point of which a big deal with get done. it is funny. they are not terribly far apart on where they stopped negotia d negotiateding in the middle of next week. couple hundred million in spending, couple hundred million in taxes. in the grand theme of things in washington that's not a far disanswer apart. things are broken down to the likelihood we will see a short-term deal than long-term deal even if it is kicking the can down a month down the road. then coming up against one deadline, who is to say they will be able to find a long-term solution with another month to go. >> what's the deal with the stock markets?
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why haven't they changed yet? we had it closing down the dow, 121 points on friday. >> yeah. 1% drop after the plan b failed which wasn't a big mover like we saw when the t.a.r.p. failed. what i think we are seeing here is a disconnect between washington and new york. new york see as deal on the table, one side -- one side that has their requirements and the other side has their requirements. they will work to the mid and secure the deal. how can a deal possibly fall apart? that's not way politics works anymore. i think will is a disconnect between the notion of an obvious deal that's there to be made and the political realities of two sides that are so firmly entrenched in their position that they don't necessarily have the incentive, political incentive, not necessarily the economic incentive, to avoid going over the cliff. >> your latest article has a fun title. john boehner's animal house. what do you mean by that? i'm picturing all sorts of things that have nothing to do with, you know -- the cliff.
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>> well, yeah. probably would apply on any issue. but -- this week the senators paused and brought in daniel day louis and steven spielberg and screened "lincoln." i suggest in the house they might pick another spielberg film and watch "jurassic park" because it is clear that the animals have take yoench the place there. rank and file humiliated him and it is not clear whether john boehner's speakership survives and certainly not clear whether the nation can avoid this fiscal calamity. basically we have a house that's ungovernable right now. it is not going to get any better when the margin is even smaller when the new congress comes in. >> switching gear was both of you. the other big story, of course, in washington, debate over gun control following newtown, connecticut, tragedy. sheer part of what the nra's wayne last pierre said friday. >> politicians pass laws
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important gun-preschool zones. they issue press releases bragging about them. they post signs advertising them. something doing so, they tell every insane killer in america that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. >> he went on to say that congress should act to place armed police officers in every school in this country. did anyone buy into this? >> i think the nra just jumped the shark here. yes, that's just what everybody in washington wants to do now is spend $10 billion turning our schools across this country into armed fortresses. i think what you are seeing here is even the conservatives are beginning to say they have gone too far. you saw governor christie of new jersey criticizing this. michael steele on our network, conservative commentator, amy holmes used the word nutty to
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describe the nra. these are the people you might expect to be supporting them. i think they set back their cause and strengthened the possibility of having an assault gun ban. >> my point toy you or questio do you think the obama administration will get meaningful gun control legislation passed? >> let's talk about the press conference. i was talking to a bunch much friends of mine, and they thought that was about one of the worst press conferences they have ever seen. because it was just so incredibly off message and so -- insensitive to the moment. whether or not there is an actual deal the republican party still controls the house. that makes getting anything through -- anything introduced much less actually through the house, i think unlikely. we is -- was a time way back when when there were 30, 40 pro-gun control republicans. i don't think those people exists anymore. >> thanks, guys. good to see you. >> thanks. we remind you that nra ceo
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wayne lastppierre is on "meet t press." to the weather, three days from christmas. more than 93 million of us will be traveling over the holidays. masty weather is lingering across much of the country and high winds could delay flights today. msnbc's dave gutierrez. outside the busiest airport in atlanta. so far so good. looks like it is getting more crowded now. >> reporter: hi, alex. good afternoon. you are right. this is as good as you can hope for on a heavy travel weekend in atlanta. you can see behind me, traffic is moving along pretty well here at delta check-in. according to flightaware.com, only about 70 flights have been canceled so far today in the u.s. heard after few problems in san francisco due to the rain. and in the northeast, due to wind, including washington-dulles. still it is a much better situation than thursday and when that winter storm howelled across much of the country.
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more than 600 flights were cancelled in the u.s. nearly 6 million are going to travel by air. in all, more than 93 million travelers this holiday season. and that's up from last year. while the travel situation is better today, there are some places experiencing some problems on the west coast, san francisco airport did experience some delays earlier today because of rain and another weather system bringinging that rain and snow in the higher elevations. that will move east. also, in the northeast today, outer loop state new york and pennsylvania, drivers there will be dealing with snow and ice. >> gabe, thank you so much. appreciate that. next up, john kerry choice and state of the state department. former defense department william company will join us.
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long been speculated and now official, senator john kerry is president obama's nominee to replace hillary clinton as secretary of state. >> i'm very proud to announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. in a sense john's entire life prepared him for this role. as the son of a born service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the state department. >> joining me now is former secretary of defense u.s. senator and congressman william chone. pleasure to have you.
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thank you so much. what do you think of secretary of state kerry? >> i think john kerry has been prepared for this job for many, many years. it is something that he's particularly well suited important not only because of his past service as a fighting sailor as such in our military in the vietnam days but also he's traveled the world. he has traveled virtually every country that we have -- strong relation was and those that we don't. i think he is enormously well prepared for this job. >> how would you expected his style to differ with that of secretary clinton's? >> i'm not sure there would be much a difference. secretary clinton -- she has put more effort in that job than anyone i have seen recently in terms of her travels and dedication to the job. i think john kerry will be a very much the same kind of workhorse and -- i doubt that they will be very much different between a secretary kerry and secretary clinton because you have president of the united states who sets the policy and
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secretary of state tends to carry that out and obviously there are differences that are worked out in private, cabinet debates, as such. i expect it will be the same policy because the president of the united states is going to dictate that policy. >> speaking of secretary clinton, let's take a listen to secretary graham talking about the secretary and the benghazi hearing. >> when her hearing date comes she should testify as current secretary of state. she should be asked, as far as i can tell there was no interview of her in preparing this report. she needs to be asked about what she knew about the deteor eighting circumstances in benghazi. >> we should say she did not appear because she is recovering from that concussion she took as a result of a fall. but have we seen the full fallout from benghazi yet? >> not yet. there's still areas that i'm sure congress is going to want to explore. and i think that senator graham sing correct, that secretary clinton should be asked questions that she apparently
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was not asked during the course of the investigation. and be held accountable for them. i think that she will be. i think she will testify very forthrightly and one of those issues where, you know, you said at the top of the department and not everything comes to your attention. what the report cited was xroes inadequacies in terms of leadership and management skills at that bureau level and the question is did any of that information ever get to her and if not why not. what can be done to prevent that in the future. you can't be 100% in preventing it in the future. but steps can be taken, secretary sclin ton has said there's a 29 recommendations she endorses fully and those have to be implemented and secretary kerry, when confirmed, will be carrying those out. >> any concern the republicans when making criticisms of the possibles are politicizing the situation further? >> i think there is always that danger but i think that the members of the senate have to take care. they are a shall -- there are legitimate issues to be
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addressed. gross inadequacies. they have to be raised and fleshed out but should be done so in it calls into question congress' role in this as was noted by the report there have been requests for additional funding for the security guards, for personnel, for our state department personnel abroad. and in terms of embassies and consulates. that has been rejected by the house. the congress had a to measure up to this as well saying if we are bogey to protect the people out in the field risking their life and limb on behalf of the country, we have an obligation to make sure we provide as much security as we can reasonably provide and not simply turn the requests down and then say sorry, there was a failure on the part of the state department. >> is it important in your mind for the president to have a republican like chuck hagel in his cabinet, much like when president clinton nominated you? >> it is not mandatory. i think under the circumstances it could be helpful. in a time where we are downliesing military, whether we
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are talking about going over the cliff or not, cliff, we going to see some cuts in defense and those have to be managed properly. i think someone of chuck hagel's experience would be a really good choice for the job. but doesn't have to be republican. i know democrats are saying wait a minute, we have a heavy bench as well and they do. under the circumstances, chuck hagel brings a unique capability and background in terms of also having been in the viet ma'am war and having been wounded twice. understanding what it means to go to war. and i think that's important. as you -- take that position and understand that we are in a dangerous world and in which we have to make decisions and recommendations for president of the united states. and in terms of how we conduct our security policy, national security policy. i think he would be an excellent choice. i know she controversial. my hope is the president will decide one way or the other if he names chuck hagel, name him and fight for him. if he is not going the name him, bring the other individuals up. i don't think it is fair to senator hagel to leave him
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twisting in the wind while the critics gather storm -- in this gathering storm, i should say, and just continue to lob criticism after criticism. >> one of the biggest trouble ace head no matter who the nominee is for secretary of defense will be the pentagon budget. can the military survive the spending cuts as they stand the fiscal cliff? >> if the fiscal cliff goes into -- goes into effect as of january -- initial january 2, it will be in effect. if that goes into effect on that day there will be serious cuts that will be mandated and affect the national security and it is -- exactly the wrong thing to be doing. as i indicated before, there are cuts that can be made in the defense budget. they have to be managed properly and not simply across board-type of arbitrary slashing of that budget. i think that will endanger our security and we can make further cuts. it has to be done prudently and with discussion and wisdom. i don't think that's the congress should take or wants to
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take. unfortunately, there aren't enough people up there willing to back away and do the right thing under the circumstances. yes, it will be a hardship and one this country should not have to endure. >> all right. thank you, mr. secretary. great to see and you appreciate your time. caution may be the buzz word for lots of folks doing their holiday shopping. costing a mint. makers are considering coin makeovers. we are going to show you why. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends. i have a great fit with my dentures. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free -- it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. super poligrip free made the kiwi an enjoyable experience. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip.
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with his wife, danielle, almost every weekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too. let's go to the money headlines. stocks slides. shopping slumps. a good day to you. let's talk about opportunity certainty over the fiscal cliff talks. that's what the -- stocks sliding, what happened? >> great question. yes, we saw uncertainty with fiscal cliff. we saw all three u.s. stock indexes tick down about 1% apiece. yesterday on friday, and i would
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call this running for safety. we are seeing investors pull out of stocks including business executives with insider trades. plowing into safe haven areas like u.s. treasuries and seen oil come off as well because of the recession dary fear. >> what about the stores which experienced a bit of a sales slump? at least through december 15. how bad was it? >> you know, i -- not great. i think that we are actually seeing the same type of pattern we saw last we are. saw relatively robust sales over black provide we saw a lull for a couple of weeks. we saw people pile into stores and in this weekend before christmas. i think we will see the same thing with lots of last-minute shoppers trying on pick up their gifts. i think we have seen a lot of things about fears about the fiscal cliff, superstorm sandy and tragic shooting last week, have all eaten into shopping time. >> i'm way behind. couldn't get out to the stores. what about the cost of making coins? it is getting so expensive that is it worth it?
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>> great question. this is actually really interesting. the u.s. mint in philadelphia released a would-year long report this week. they are showing that nickels and pennies actually cost more than two times their face value to manufacture now. blame this on the rising cost of metals like copper. the u.s. mint has been test driving different compositions to replace this and bring the cost down. haven't found anything yet. stay tuned there on this. >> they are on it. we will having bring it to us. even though we have seen a drop in the unemployment rate, americans are less optimistic about the job market. only 19% in new gallup survey say it is a good time to find a quality job which is 5% lower than in november. on the other hand, 76% now say it is not a good time to find a quality job. for fast, long lasting relief, use doctor recommended gaviscon®. only gaviscon® forms a protective barrier that helps block stomach acid from splashing up- relieving the pain quickly. try fast, long lasting gaviscon®.
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welcome back. it is 31 past the hour. newtown, connecticut, time for healing. it has been a week now since the tragic shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at sandy hook elementary. yesterday at the exact time of
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last friday's massacre, the ringing of 26 bells, one for each victim, during a moment of silence. joining me is pastor parker reardon of the newtown bible church. we welcome you. thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure to be with you. >> how is the community coping this week later? >> well, there's -- still a lot of hubbub, my fellow pastor and i had wandered down to the firehouse the other day to try to take resources as they are coping with the issue. there was still too much going on, some of the articles in our paper, in regards to the media, just waiting to get our town back. >> yeah. i know that children went back to other schools in the area, not sandy hook elementary, certainly, that will come sometime in the new year. but how was that in terms of emotionally for parents of those kids and community in general to see those kids going back to school? >> well, different parents that
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have been in contact with me were just a little apprehensive of sending their kids, even those that are not from around here, just wondering how safe their children would be in the other schools they go to. >> yeah. how do you, joining with your other leaders of different faiths in the community, how do you try to help this community rof recover? how long do you think this will take after such a senseless crime? >> i have no idea new kind of time frame but my -- fellow pass tore and i are planning on weeks and months ahead when the shock offing the event settles in, when things quiet down, especially in the next few days, as we get ready to celebrate christ's birth, when they start processing through all of that, is when the grief counseling will be needed. >> pastor reardon, as you are well aware, the nation has begun
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a discussion on guns. and schools and safety of our children. to what extent, though are people in your community aware of that? is that just noise in the outside? are people still living in a bubble of just trying to cope? >> i don't think they are in any bubble at all. one of our church members sent me a photo of kids going to school in israel and their teacher has a gunsling on her shoulder. it is part and parcel to life. >> does that bring some measure of comfort knowing that will is a communal agony around this world that everybody is sharing in the grief? >> they have been sharing in it to a degree. we have had folks from all over the place contacting, wanting to send in home-knit prayer shawls, helping us hand out resources, praying important those that are
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hurting, and songs that they have written, poems they have written, just trying to help those that are hurting the loss of this community. >> even they the most faithful at times don't make it to church. we lead busy lives. i'm curious if have you seen an uptake in the number of pews in your congregation. >> to a degree. we spur of the moment put together a prayer service on friday evening and our only means of communication was to throw it out on facebook and on our church website and the folks of the church took it from there, spreading the word. this is where we are ex- -- word spreads quickly and -- we have still got plenty of room in the church, for those that are looking for biblical answers to these painful issues of life, and we are here to help them. we are not overflowing at the point. >> well, i'm sure your help is much appreciated by so many there. pastor parker reardon there of the newtown bible church.
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>> you can thank you so much. more now on the fight over stricter gun laws, battle over the fiscal cliff. joining me by phone is congressman joe courtney of connecticut. welcome, sir. i'm glad you are here to join us thanks, alex. >> your congressional direct, not too far from newtown, can you describe the emotions of the people in your state over the past week? >> connecticut, obviously is a small state geographically and -- just being on the road today, veterans events, you know, ribbon ceremonies. subject still dominates and -- you know, on people's minds and -- he expressed it well today. as he said the shock is starting to wear off but the pain still runs very deep. and, frankly, i hope people hold on to some of that pain in terms of just making sure that this doesn't become a story that just, you know, sort of -- ebbs
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the way or dissipates in that -- people really stay focussed on important questions which the president raised when he spoke at the interfaith vigil. >> you have said that we are failing to protect our children. what's your opinion of the nra's suggestion that armed police officers should be in all schools? >> first of all, it was a very disappointing speech. and -- the education labor committee happened and going back, committee in january, and i have written to the chairman, you know, asking that the committee, again, becoming a forum important best practices in terms of school security and i -- just talking to school officials in connecticut. they are looking for some help and guidance and want to make sure that, you know, they are doing everything that they possibly can. but the motion that that one -- you know, suggestion by mr. lapierre is enough, is ridiculous. we know from columbine there were armed guards in the
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building and that didn't work. so really, the -- solution has to be more comprehensive as president obama suggested. >> let's switch gears now, sir, and chat a bit about the fiscal cliff. because the president is asking congress to pass a bill to keep taxes from increasing. 98% of american taxpayers. do you think that will happen of before the end of the year? >> if speaker boehner agrees to allow a vote to take place in the senate. and although on the one hand he said, you know, it is in the senate's hands he's not committed to really allowing the majority to work as well in the house. if you look at the government shutdown last year, if you look at the debt limit and payroll tax discussion, every one of those instances, you know, it was a measure that was made in the senate. that finally -- found a solution. he has to recognize that he's not just the speaker or leader of the the caucus but of one branch of the government and he
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has to allow and make a commitment that he will allow a vote to go forward. he can't just wash his hands and -- throw it over to the senate. he's -- part of the process. and so far -- answers have been very inadequate. >> with his -- failure of his plan b, what do you think is the most likely solution to the tax increases? and budget cuts that are going to take effect in january unless something is done. >> well, again, it is -- he wasted a month and a half to -- try to -- somehow in the belief in his caucus was going to come up with a solution that -- even touched the scope of the problem that the -- tax cliff and sequestration provide. the senate passed a measure. it is clear that their process -- which is nothing to sneeze at. and -- in my opinion, that should be the measure that he allows to take -- i believe
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there are republican votes in that chamber that would support a solution. the fact he couldn't get 218 out of his own caucus is not the measuring stick of what the house itself is capable of doing. really as the speaker of the full house, nancy pelosi reminded people, she took up measures whether it was iraq war funding or t.a.r.p. which were -- definitely -- did not have a majority is port let line 218 votes in our caucus to move forward. sometimes the speaker has got to look at their role as bigger than being the leader of their party. >> thank you for your time. let's check in with richard lui for what's ahead on msnbc. >> good to see you. the question was, you know, how many votes did he come up short? we will dig into that. was eight case of personal revenge that led house members to walk away from speaker boehner's plan? plus guns in our schools. we will ask the mayor of atlanta whether that can work and former governor bill richardson also joins us to talk about john
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kerry's new appointment. what's ahead for the state department. >> close enough to give you a high five. coming up next, big three. fiscal cliff, dangerous game of chicken. we are going to discuss as we go to a break on a live picture of honolulu. that's where the first family sing spend something time. don't you wish you were, too? nice. copd makes it hard to breathe, but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis
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cliff-mas is coming. more guns and best week, worst week. congressional correspondent for national journal, chris. democratic strategist and msnbc contributor, jimy williams. republican strategist and msnbc contributor, susan. thank you for joining us. >> hi. >> susan, we will begin with you here. republicans are there they actually hoping to go over the fiscal cliff because if they do, then technically any vote on taxes would be to cut them?
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>> there may be a few out there. but it is just not the responsible thing to do. i think -- i do believe that john boehner never had the intention of going off the cliff. he needs to get this done. he may have to do it without getting a majority of the majority. so he may have to take this to the floor and get it passed with democratic support. but it needs to get done because the republicans need to put this behind them. plus, they will have another bite at the apple when it comes again to the cap on our debt. so -- he -- he has time to play but has to get something done. >> so, jimmy, the president implored his colleagues in both parties in congress just to act, get together, and give it a little time here and get a solution. politically speaking, has the damage already been done for both parties? >> congress' approval rating went up to 18 pez last week which was astonishing. i'm not sure what 5% of americans thought they were doing something better than
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before that. but i think that most americans think that congress is just ineffectual, filled with partisans on both sides. and it is deadlocked and gridlocked and the elections did not teach them anything. and so -- i don't think that most americans give the congress much credit. the problem with that is that -- end of the day, if we do, quote, go off the cliff, if sequestration happens, the markets will react. they probably won't react positively. both parties are going to suffer on this one. i have to tell you, somebody that's looking pretty right now is barack obama. mine, he's looking really good, in my opinion. a lot of others as well. >> he doesn't want to have this fiscal cliff happen, have a recession, and start his legacy this way. he's got some things he wants to do. he doesn't want this around important six months either. >> i agree. i agree he doesn't want that. but let's also remember, i dash you know, susan, you and i have known each other and love each other, like history. history tells me that -- these are the same republicans voted for sequestration and that this
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thought it was to 2011 and the president signed the bill into law and why in the hell should we just go ahead and let it happen? agree with you. it is probably not a good thing. markets will react negatively and it could dip us back into a very temporary and slight recession. i don't want to see that. but they did vote for this. >> well, you know what, speaking of temporary, chris, is there a path out of this mess? is there going to be a quick fix? kick the can down the road, six months from now we come back to where we are today. >> i think there is a path forward. i argued this thursday might in "national journal" and i said here is why we can get this done. boehner was able tool demonstrate how difficult it is for him to get votes for a tax rate increase. he wasn't able to put that bill on the floor because he didn't have enough votes to pass that with just the republicans. now he has a really good sense of how many people in his caucus would be able to vote for a tax increase. they counted that vote closely
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and can go back to the president and say look, this is what i can get. the president was at $400,00037 the speaker was at $1 million. those are the folks that are talking about increasing taxes on him. there's somewhere in between there where the speaker would be able to bring something forward and maybe $500,000, $650,000 if the speaker came down and president went up and find an agreement. i think there is a path forward. they are only $200 billion apart on the receive knews a revenues multitrillion dollar deal. this was certainly not a great moment for the speaker but i don't think that this is game over and tax revenue lott always used to argue that nothing got done in washington until everybody went home. i look for the speaker and the president to continue talks while this christmas holiday is happen. >> you know, what sticks in mind, they are only about $200 billion apart. yeah, drop in the bucket today.
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let's just switch gears here. susan, let's listen to part of the nra's news conference, the speech yesterday. >> i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. to do it now. >> you know, it is an impractical thing. the suggestion to put armed police officers in event ril school in america. even beyond that, i mean, that's not what in serk about, is it? >> it is not only impractical, it is -- offensive that they took a week and this is what they came out with, frankly. >> no mention of assault weapons. >> not a one.one. from two perspectives, one, practically, if you're going take a week you better come out with something big and bold and newsworthy, not this. and secondly, they need to take a hard look at their membership.
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a lot of polling showed members of the nra, yes, they're all pro-second amendment and they're not pro-assault weapons and they're not the clips that hold 50 rounds. >> and they believe in background checks. >> they joined the nra because you get deals on your ammo and other opportunities that you can get, discounts for other things, but people are not on the side of assault weapons and when he talks about armed guards, then fine. they think they should get an assault weapon, make them go through all of the tests and psychological tests and background tests and fingerprinting and there's a lot to be done there and they found nothing. >> gemmy, the vice president is leading this new task force to reduce gun violence than no later than next month. the president is calling the new congress to vote in january with the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity
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ammunition clips and a lot of them require background checks before any gun is purchased and listen to one republican congressman from kansas who appeared on "morning joe." what bothers me the most as a representative is how this has been politicized so quickly that somehow if we had changed one single law which as i understand it, the state of connecticut had laws against these kinds of things that somehow would have changed things. we have a cultural problem. >> is it time to look at assault weapons? >> would that solve the problem? i don't believe so. it's not a gun problem. it's a people problem. >> joe, how many do you have? >> i have four children. >> so do i, and i refuse to let you say that because you have children or anybody else that we need to actually politicize this. >> so, put this ideology together. i mean, does the president have a chance at passing these reforms, jimmy?
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>> um, no. i hope. i want. i don't think that anybody is going to actually, except for tim holtz camp come on tv and say something like that. we do have divided government. the speaker of the house is republican. the house majority is a republican majority. here's the problem. you might be able to get it through the senate. and the president can set up whatever legislation me wants to, but the question becomes is can -- if john boehner can't get a tax increase on millionaires how in the hell will he get a ban on assault weapons. you just heard a congressman from kansas, the great state of kansas and the home of bob dole who said no way. i doubt they'll get it through the house. >> chris, you'll be up next when it comes to the big three's best and worst of the week after a break. a two-step process that removes even coarse, stubborn facial hair gently. plenty of gain, without all that pain... with olay.
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>> back to the big three for best tweet. what's yours? >> for worst tweet you have to go with house speaker john boehner.
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he wasn't able to get his caucus together for tax increase on millionaires. he lost a little bit of leverage with the president and his negotiations. not the best week for the speaker. the best week is for everyone in washington, lawmaker, staffers, journalists who get to have a christmas vacation. there was some worry that folks were going go right up to christmas eve. >> yeah. >> we were going to lose. people wouldn't be able to get home and be with their families. that's the win. >> we may be here new year's. jimmy, how about you? >> congressman tim holtz camp, not only did he make an ass of himself on "morning joe" he is now the new allen west of the republican party. that's a problem for him and the winner this week i would say barack obama and not only is he on his way to hawaii and he got pretty much all he wanted and he now has all of the leverage he needs. >> the nra really blew it this week and john kerry, he finally got his dream job. you have to be happy for him.
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>> okay. >> chris, susan, thank you guys so much and that's a wrap of "weekends with alex witt." up next, my colleague richard lui. oh, yeah. look at hawaii. i want to go surfing. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪
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